Indiana children's hospital shutters psychiatric unit

Indianapolis-based Riley Hospital for Children shut down its 20-bed psychiatric unit this spring, just three years after the facility opened in 2016, according to The Indianapolis Star.

The unit opened when Indiana University Health Methodist, also in Indianapolis, moved its pediatric psychiatric care to the children's hospital in 2016. At the time, IU Health officials said the unit would double the number of beds and allow providers to address patients' physical and mental health needs. It launched with a $3.8 million grant from the Samerian Foundation.

Experts say hospitals around the country are struggling to maintain pediatric psychiatric units, in part due to low reimbursements from payers and a preference among policymakers for community-based rather than residential care. Rush University Medical Center in Chicago announced the closure of its inpatient pediatric mental health unit in June.

Riley Hospital officials did not specify why the unit closed, however. "We are taking time to assess our community's needs to assure that the right services are in place to help children thrive and adjust our role accordingly," the hospital said in an emailed statement to The Indianapolis Star.

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